Random Ramblings

Run Kubernetes clusters across AWS and vSphere with TKG

May 06, 2020 | 3 Minute Read

tkg   tanzu   kubernetes   vsphere   vmware   containers   aws   multicloud

It is common for many large organizations to run their Kubernetes workloads on more than one cloud provider. It is a great strategy to utilise the benefits of on-prem and public cloud. In this blog, I will show you how to create, run and manage clusters across AWS and vSphere using Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG).

Brief intro to TKG

TKG is a bundle of tools that help run k8s in a production environment. In addition to vanilla kubernetes, TKG includes Open Source tools like Cluster API, Calico for networking, Fluent Bit for logging, Contour for ingress etc.


  1. Deploy TKG management cluster to Amazon EC2 - Follow steps in docs
  2. Deploy TKG on vSphere - Follow steps in docs Alternatively, if you are on vSphere 7, you could enable kubernetes Workload management and skip step and follow this link to add vSphere management cluster to your TKG cli.

Multiple TKG management clusters

Now that we have set up two different TKG clusters, lets see how we can manage them using the TKG cli.

tkg get management-cluster

| MANAGEMENT CLUSTER NAME       | CONTEXT NAME                                                  |
| tkg-mgmt-aws-zzzzz*  | tkg-mgmt-aws-zzzzz-admin@tkg-mgmt-aws-zzzzz |
| wcp.vsphere.test.io  | wcp.vsphere.test.io                         |
  • indicates the management cluster which is selected. AWS management cluster is selected at the moment.

Create a cluster on AWS:

tkg create cluster my-aws-cluster --plan=dev --kubernetes-version=v1.17.3+vmware.2

Once it is done, run the following command to make sure the cluster is created. tkg get cluster

| my-aws-cluster | Provisioned |

Create a cluster on vSphere:

Select the vSphere k8s cluster

tkg set management-cluster wcp.abc.test.io

To create a cluster in vSphere,

tkg create cluster my-tkg-cluster --plan=dev --namespace=demo --kubernetes-version=v1.16.8+vmware.1-tkg.3.60d2ffd

Once the cluster is created, you could verify by running the command or you could login to the vCenter UI to take a look. Cluster in vCenter

Key takeaways:

  1. I could use different versions of kubernetes across AWS and vSphere.
  2. I could use different storage classes across AWS and vSphere. Edit ~/.tkg/config.yaml to change storage classes or vm classes.
  3. Consistent experience creating clusters across the two IaaS. I can use the same TKG Cli to manage clusters. Yay!